Saturday, September 24, 2011

Flu shots and a question

Yesterday I got my annual flu shot at Rite-Aid, using my Medicare Advantage card. Didn't cost me anything, except for one thing: I've had many flu shots and rarely remember any discomfort at the injection site, maybe a little soreness for a day or two in the general vicinity. But yesterday, it stung and itched for several minutes after the shot, as well as swelling up like I had a grape sitting under the skin. The pharmacist who injected me was obviously not happy, either. He wouldn't let me leave for fifteen minutes and got on the phone and called somebody, I don't know who. He was explaining my reaction to someone on the phone. I suspect he was wondering if I would suddenly fall on the floor with anaphylactic shock or something. But within those few minutes, the injection site returned to something resembling normal, and today all I have is a pretty spectacular bruise but normal discomfort.

Today in the swim class, we spent the entire time doing drills that we learned last week, and before the hour was over, my legs felt weak and truly spent, so I quit and have noticed how tired they seem now. Could it have been the flu shot? Or the fact that I usually swim and don't do an hour's worth of drills, or a combination of the two? Do you get a flu shot?

But that's not my question. I realized with a bit of a start the other day that my blog has become an EXERCISE and HIKING blog without me noticing. I remember asking my brother awhile back if he had read a certain post, and he gently told me he just "skims" the hiking posts. This got me to thinking about the stuff I used to write about, and what has become more prevalent.

Blogger gives me the opportunity to see what posts are the most visited in and where the visitor arrived from. This is a very interesting exercise, and I discovered that my all-time most viewed post was a movie review about Toy Story 3. This surprised me, but I learned that NONE of my hiking posts are visited much after the hike itself. They probably show up in the reader's sidebar or Google Reader if they use it, they look at the pictures and move on.

But you know, that is just what I do with most posts that are about an event in the blogger's life: I look at the pictures, read the story, and move on. I don't go back to visit that particular post again. Why would I, unless I was maybe thinking about hiking (or visiting) there myself and wanting to learn what to expect. I might think about getting some tips on Kay's 13-day-long Alaska cruise if I were going to take it myself.

This leave me with a question (the one I've been leading up to). What posts are most interesting to my readers? I find I have several posts about hiking (duh!), some about my new home town, a few contemplative ones (but I usually do that on my Eye on the Edge post on Sunday mornings), and a few movie or book reviews. Anybody willing to give me some direction? Or are you happy with the way things are?


  1. Your flu shot reaction is interesting. I didn't have any sort of reaction when I got mine last week but years past I've felt like you and once my arm swelled so much I had to get a benedryl injection. Hope you're feeling better and the symptoms have passed.

    I rarely go back and read posts a second time. My guess is that Toy Story comes up a lot when people Google the title which is why you have more traffic than usual to that page.

    I enjoy your photos a lot and have seen more gorgeous views thanks to you than I can count so I hope you keep 'em coming!

    happy weekend, jj

  2. I like this post, so I would say posts like this one are what are interesting to me. I like how you describe things fully, as you did here with the flu shot story. There again, you and I are different. I do not get flu shots. I don't even go to the doctor except if I have to get a prescription refilled. And I am currently working on eliminating the need for meds.

    I don't know why the Toy Story post would be the all time big draw, but for your regular readers, we read all your posts because they are down to earth and real and about real life things. For me, it is fun to hear what it is like in your town so far away from where I live. You are a very active woman with lots of interests, which makes you interesting.Your posts are just the right length; long enough to say it all but you don't drag it on and on. I like reading your writing and sometimes I am amazed at all you have done in your life.

  3. I'm wondering about your flu shot.....maybe it got stuck in a blood vessel amd caused a small hematoma by mistake ?
    Last year my flu shot was given with a huge needle I complained for months my arem was not only sore but bruised, they say this years should be gentler.

    I like all your blog posts, you offer us views from tops of mountains, and anything in between.
    Carry on my friend :)

    Hope your weekend is going well.

  4. Sorry about the's late at least for me :)

  5. I love the mix of your posts. I like sharing in a life which is so unlike my own, in a place far removed from my own. I say, do what you feel like. The blog is for you at the end of the day.
    And I suspect that using different muscles could account for you being so much more tired after your swim drill. And the flu shot wouldn't have helped.

  6. Enjoy reading your posts. I think the ones offering different or unique insight, and ones people can relate to are the most popular - for example more of us can relate to flu shots than hiking, which is of course unfortunate but true.

  7. I long ago lost the argument on flu shots. I think if you have normal health and look after yourself as far as diet and exercise goes your immune system will look after you.
    I happen to really like hiking so I like the hiking posts. I like the contemplative posts on age, loss, happiness and health. As far as exercise goes you're a great example. Keep up the good work.

  8. I hope you don't change anything just because I skim some of your hiking posts. (Notice I said "some" because, once in a while, a nice vicarious hike is just what I need.)

    I'm a slow reader, and I'm usually buried in my job. I've been reading the same book for months -- actually, it's a series, but I'm still in Book 2 -- and I can't seem to fit any significant amount of regular blog reading into my life, so when I still take the time to skim one of your posts, that's actually very high praise from me!

    You are amazing, and I love you. Your blog is amazing and perfect because it reflects who you are. If you feel like changing it up, change it up. If you don't, don't. If you do one thing today and change your mind tomorrow, I'll just be happy I can be along for the ride, even if I'm only skimming some of the time. :-)

  9. I stumbled upon your blog when searching for hikes in the North Cascades and bookmarked it, so now I read it often, looking mainly at the hiking photos and reports.

  10. I love your blog...and each and every post! Don't change a thing!

  11. i have not hada flu shot in 15 years...i cant stand needles...i like the hiking post...just inspire me...write what you feel like writing...long as it is you i will read it...smiles.

  12. Oh me too, me too, DJan! I agree with everybody! I love your blog because it reflects who you are. Thank you for the the blog link. That's so kind of you.

    I have found that people are most drawn to human interest topics that they can empathize with. The flu shot thing caught my eye right away because it's flu shot season and I just got mine yesterday. Everybody in my family did not get a reaction, but my arm aches a bit. Not bad. Just a bit. I'm glad I got it though.

  13. I love your blog the way it is. I like that you show me places I will never be able to see and that you tell us about your life and thoughts whenever you feel like it. I had never thought about what "kind" of blog it is. It's just you. I come to visit you.

    I blog about whatever happens to be going on in my life, what I'm thinking about, and the occasional life story. I have always assumed that people skim the things that don't interest them, I guess. I have more visitors than followers...and few followers, but they're pretty loyal. Some have come and gone over the years but that's fine. I think mine shifts about and some people only like a blog to be about one subject. Say they followed because I was making journals and then moved on to Chinese Brush Painting and then to card making. Or they came for movie reviews or the life stories and I don't do them often enough for them, you know? That's life.

    My blog is just the life of a cat and a shut-in--LOL! I realize that is probably more than boring to most people. I have never tried to actually gather followers, either. I honestly come to your blog because just to visit you and hear and see whatever you are doing--and love to hear what you're thinking. :):)

    I agree. I think your review on Toy Story got so many hits because it is probably popping up when Toy Story is googled. I haven't ever gone and checked what was most popular and all of that. Now you have be on a mission--LOL!

    My meager two cents, just do what you want to and what you enjoy. I think blogging should be fun and not work. Just be yourself. Love you, Lady!! *hugs*

  14. Ultimately, it is YOUR blog! Write what you want. I personally would like to read more about your travels while you were working. Didn't you travel quite a bit back then? Were you able to take pictures or was it all work and no pleasure? How about pictures of Boulder?

  15. I always enjoy what you write even though I don't always comment on every post. I agree with those who say to write what you like. I also check my stat counter to see where traffic originates and the Google search terms that bring them to my site are interesting. I was surprised that Timothy Oliphant was so popular. My photo of a blue orchid has countless hits. I find the photos I post bring the most traffic, regardless of what I write. I don't know how many people bother to read what I write once they look at the photos. I have been taking a break to gather my thoughts and determine my next direction also.

    I must say that I always get a flu shot and firmly believe in "herd immunity." I am a believer in the immunizations even though there are some occasional problems. On the whole, I think they are extremely beneficial and save many lives from premature death.

  16. I enjoy your hiking posts since I'm a hiker too and feel supported. Actually I like most of your posts since we're both active elders finding and writing about what's interesting in our lives.

  17. I think that whatever you want to share in your blog is what interests your readers. If you start thinking about what might please someone, rather than posting to please yourself, you'll begin to feel less engaged in the blogging process. I don't think most folks (myself included) revisit anyone's past posts as a matter of course.

    The only time I've had the flu as an adult happened to be the only year I ever got a flu shot. Unless and until my doctor strongly recommends one, I'll keep turning them down. Remember to report your reaction to the shot to whomever is administering the next one. You might have had an allergic reaction to one of the agents in the vaccine.

  18. I like anything you write that gives me insight into how you think and feel about something, because I find you to be a most fascinating person!
    Yes, we get flu shots, through our Group Health clinic. I guess it's about time to do that.

  19. I like the flowers in your hiking posts but to tell you the truth I read those because you write them, not because of the content. When you've read one, you've read them all? Does that sound harsh? I don't mean it to be. It's nice for me to go there because I know I will never do it myself, so I can go along with you, but I'd rather read about your birds or your house or what you read or see at the cinema. Maybe not so many hikes?
    I feel the same about my own Blog. Do people get bored with that? Do they just read because they always have, you ask yourself.
    Finally, I think you have to write what you want. Ask yourself, are you writing about the hikes each week because your hiking friends expect it and look to you for a record of their gorgeous day? or do you genuinely enjoy doing those posts? They must be a lot of work. First you have to take the pictures and I would hate for you to fall off a cliff while you're doing it! Then you have to put them on the Blog - all work - all pleasurable up to a point.
    No, I don't have a flu jab. I've read so much about them going wrong that I'd rather not take the chance (while I'm relatively healthy). When I am even older and more vulnerable, then I probably will have one.
    Whatever you write, I'll read it because I call you friend, ok?

  20. I love your posts just the way they are. I never go back and reread posts - yours or anyone else's (but I rarely reread books, too - too many new ones waiting). I always feel like I've just gotten a letter from a friend when I read your blog, and always feel inspired by your hikes. My blog focus has changed over the years (almost five now), and I trust the flow of it.

  21. My oaksan, Patty, of 56 years, had a reaction to a flue shot several years ago and is not allowed to get another so she has to go it alone and trust to luck and spirits or something to get past each flue season. I usually get one and a pneumonia shot as I have had pneumonia at least 3 times and twice sent me to the hospital. My lungs are shot so I need extra help I guess.

  22. I do get a flu shot because I have have a history of long, drawn-out battles with flu. Never had that kind of nasty reaction; I think the needle hit something it wasn't supposed to, like a blood vessel. And I love your blog, whatever you write about. You have a lot to show us with your hiking explorations!

  23. I enjoy reading any and all of your posts. It's always a delight visiting. The hiking ones are the best fun for me because of the wonderful photos and descriptions of places you get to see that I know I'll probably never get to see....Living through your fun trips vicariously. I always enjoy what I find here no matter the topic. And I appreciate your blogger friendship. Just keep writing from your heart as you always do...and I'll be here reading.

    Not sure about the flu shot reaction...kinda scary. Hope you're okay. I've never had the courage to get one of those.

  24. I've never gotten a flu shot. I figure the shot they're giving in any given year probably doesn't cover all the different strains of flu going around. Besides, I hate needles.

    I love all your posts, hiking and movies and books and the ones you've written on your other blog. You write, I'll read!

  25. Well at least the pharmacist was concerned when your flu shot didn't seem right. Like someone else mentioned above, the last time I had a flu shot was also the last year I had the flu. I don't do them anymore.

    It isn't surprising that Toy Story 3 be a popular post, that movie title is googled often I'm sure. My most popular post on The Road is Barrow Web Cam, it gets hits every week. Key words will show up in Google searches. I would think the various mountains you mention would get lots of traffic.

    I love your blog just as it is DJan, you have a good mix of hiking, local information and entertainment (I do enjoy your book and movie reviews).

  26. OK The flu shot - got it and was so sick, had to go to hosp and they kept me for 5 days - never was so sick in all my life. Never got another one. With all the hype about what is in the shot itself, leaves me wondering why more people are not dead and as more and more are having reactions. Your tiredness certainly was due to the shot - it affects your whole body for 1-3 weeks or more, some people do not get over the shot. I was never sick with flu till i got the flu shot - at our druggist store, they make you sign a paper before the shot, so they are not responsible if anything happens to you - ENOUGH SAID.
    I love your blog, I love your hikes and skydiving and swimming and other things you write about, because its different from what I do and very interesting. Please do not change DJan - when you have something this good, do not break the mold. Cheers

  27. I am not sure if I will get a flu shot or not..I skipped last year and did just fine. Far Guy got one and he was sick off and on all winter..aches, fever etc..

    As for your should be all about you and whatever you want to share. This is your room and if it is worth writing..then I will be reading. I LOVE your hikes and your walks about town:)

  28. I keep hoping to add more of my cooking and baking projects to my blog. But I never remember to photograph them. And I would like to do more creative writing. But I'm not so sure if people are even reading what I write now! One of my friends admitted that he only looks at my photos. I was so hurt. Oh well. I happen to love your hiking adventures Djan.

  29. I read all your posts, and almost always comment because I've met you.

    You're a hiker. You post about your hikes! Aside from jealousy that you're still so active, I enjoy the photos.

    I'm more into people, what they think about, what they feel. Remember how many questions I asked you when I met you that day? I'm curious. So I'm more likely to respond to a post that gives me a hint of that.

    That's just me, though.

  30. DJan - will u take a look at the Luna Moth and let me know if you can see the photos - Blogger this morning lost all my connections??
    thanks, Lilly

  31. Flu Shot.

    My wife had a reaction to them years ago. Now she can no longer take them. It is a health scare.

    I still take them because both lungs are shot and if I get much in my lungs like an infection, I am in deep trouble.

  32. Interesting you should mention those google stats, I've been keeping my eye on mine for some time and have been thinking of writing a post about them!

    My most read post (each week!) is my review of the first Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movie!

    The more personal stuff doesn't get visited much after the fact either, but then I didn't expect people to be re-reading posts and some are just interesting to people who follow regularly...

    Just keep writing for yourself! I for one really enjoy all the hiking posts, and just about everything you write! So keep 'em coming! ;o)

    As for the flu shot, I've never had one!

  33. Well, DJan, I like all your posts, so I won't be much help. That said, I rarely go back to re-read, (unless I forgot that I read it the first time!)

    I love the hiking ones, but I also like the more introspective ones (just commented on the eulogy one).

    I really need to get my flu shot, too. Hope I don't have a reaction! I never have, so unlikely this time either!

    You just keep writing, and I'll keep reading!


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